Approximately one million feral camels live in Australia. This population is projected to double every eight to 10 years. This week, starting last Wednesday, 5,000 to 10,000 will be killed during a five day period ending on Sunday. Professional snipers, traveling in helicopters, will kill the camels. Aboriginal officials in Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands have approved the shootings. Officials blame this on the fact that the camels are endangering people in the area. The camels are taking food and water supplies.
APY General Manager Speaks Out
APY General Manager Richard King told USA Today that the ‘cull’ was a “last resort.” He said the camels were putting pressure on the region. The APY lands are sparsely populated, with about 2,300 people in the 39,768 square mile area. Aboriginal officials said that the camels are eating food supplies and drinking the region’s water. This is endangering people as well as other animals. The camels are not native to Australia. They were brought to the country by British settlers during the 19th century. They came from India, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.
Horses Are Also Being Killed
Feral horses will also be shot and killed during the five days. The number to be killed is not known, but it will be much less than the number of camels to be slaughtered. Authorities said so many animals, also including donkeys and goals, are in such poor health and dying from thirst that these measures were decided to take place this week. The hot weather, along with the fires in Australia, has continued to make the situation worse for the animals. The council said the horses and feral animals are dying of thirst and hunger because many reliable water sources have dried up due to the current heatwave and areas overpopulated by feral animals. Last week it was reported that half-billion animals have died due to the bush fires.
Animals To Be Destroyed In A Humane Way
A spokesperson said the animals would be destroyed in accordance with the highest standards of animal welfare. The snipers will have the opportunity to kill the camels while they are all together. Usually, they travel around the desert in smaller herds. The camels are known to have an insatiable thirst. The dromedary can drink up to 30 gallons of water at a time. Some of the camels are becoming so desperate for water that they are attracted by the moisture from air conditioners. When four or five camels want water, they are breaking air conditioners.
The First Of A Few Culls
King estimates it will take a minimum of three years to get the camel population down to sustainable numbers. He said, “And in that time we’ve got to feed them…The reality is, we just can’t do that. This is just the beginning. It will definitely have an impact, and it will provide some breathing space, but this cull will be the first of a few.”